Platte County softball locks up district title behind Stoner's shutouts

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — Mallory Stoner reared back and fired strike three past Excelsior Springs’ Paige Feemster to put the final stamp on Platte County’s return trip to the state playoffs. BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Platte County senior Mallory Stoner delivers a pitch against Excelsior Springs in the Class 3 District 15 championship game Saturday at Excelsior Springs High School.

The Pirates junior pitcher threw two shutouts on Saturday at Excelsior Springs High School in the rain-altered Class 3 District 15 schedule. The final strikeout — Stoner’s 14th in 14 innings — came against the potential tying run and sealed a 3-0 victory against the hosts in the title game.

“She does a good job,” Platte County coach Rob Davenport said. “Both of our pitchers do, but we just used Mallory today. Our defense was solid all day long. Once we got that one run, we felt good about it, but the insurance runs helped.”

Platte County took the lead in the championship game on a suicide squeeze play in the bottom of the fifth inning. Courtney Seymour laid down the bunt after fouling off her first attempt.

Davenport called for three bunts in the inning.

Tori Farr bunted her way on to lead off the inning on an Excelsior Springs error, and Brittany Whitt’s sacrifice attempt became a single when her well-placed effort wound up between the pitcher and first baseman.

Both runners advanced on a wild pitch ahead of Seymour’s one-out squeeze.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself the second time,” Seymour said. “I knew I really, really needed to get it down. Honestly, I just wanted to win. I didn’t know if she was out or safe yet until coach held up we only had one out. I was pretty excited that Tori got down the line to be safe.”

Platte County broke the scoreless tie after the Tigers came within inches of taking the lead in the top of the inning.

Excelsior Springs left fielder Lyndsey Gooding powered a ball down the line to right, but the ball caromed off of the top of the fence and over on the foul side of the pole. Gooding lined out to short stop Jessie Hoover on the next pitch.

Platte County added insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on a two-out, two-RBI triple from Whitt.

Platte County (22-6) advances to Class 3 sectional play, advancing to play at St. Joseph Benton (23-4) in a scheduled Oct. 15 matchup. The Cardinals earned a 5-4 win in the District 16 title game after trailing Cameron 4-1 headed into the sixth inning.

Benton makes its second appearance in the Class 3 playoffs in the past three years, while Platte County goes back into the bracket for the first time since placing third in 2009 on the heels of a state title in 2008. The Pirates made the Class 4 playoffs once in 2012 during their recent four-year stint in Missouri’s largest sector.

“I’m just glad we get to continue on,” Whitt said.

The winner between Benton and Platte County plays in Saturday’s quarterfinals against the winner between Pleasant Hill and Boonville.